Since 2014, Wheels4Water has imagined and executed new ways in which anyone can make a tangible difference in the fight against the global water crisis using only bicycles, a passionate community, storytelling, and heart for doing good. Following the incredible success of the 2014 – 2017 rides in which communities across the United States joined Wheels4Water fundraising efforts to raise over $230,000, the vision of 2018 will be set on new heights.
On April 21 of 2018, the Wheels4Water team will make our biggest advancement to fight the global water crisis yet. We will ride over 2,700 miles, from San Diego, CA to Charleston, South Caroloina, with a goal of raising $250,000 to transform the lives of a community in the Bensa District of Ethiopia. If we reach the $250,000 mark, Wheels4Water’s efforts since 2014 will have given safe water access to over 16,250 people in Ethiopia, Uganda and the DROC. But this can not happen, without your help!
Ethiopia is regularly listed as one of the poorest countries in the world. One third Ethiopians live in extreme poverty, on less than $1.90 per day. Health is also a significant challenge, with life expectancy 15 years lower than the western world. The water and sanitation situation is similarly dire, with approximately half of the rural population lacking access to safe water and two thirds lacking improved sanitation. A Lifewater survey of the region found that the average household uses less than half of the minimum water consumption needs estimated by the World Health Organization. In Bensa, Lifewater has found that women spend an average of 2-5 hours each day fetching water, which is often making them and their children sick.
We can change the reality of a community in Bensa, Ethiopia. Despite great strides in economic and social development in recent decades, Ethiopia continues to struggle to provide safe water and sanitation to it’s most vulnerable citizens
Lack Access to Clean Water
Live Without Proper Sanitation Facilities
Of Schools Lack Access to Proper Water & Sanitation
Mike is the founder and CEO of Corporate Color Printing in Orange County, CA which he founded at the ripe young age of 20. His true accomplishments however don’t lie in the fact that he has ran a successful company for more than 20 years but rather in the man, husband and father he has become. After having three biological children Mike and his wife Jamie felt compelled to adopt 3 year old twins from Ethiopia in the summer of 2016 after a two year waiting process. Although adoption has been one of the hardest things Mike and his wife have ever decided to undertake, it has also been the most rewarding. Mike’s journey really began to change after traveling to Ethiopia and adopting his twins and seeing first hand the need for safe water and sanitation in rural Ethiopia. This ride is an extension of his servant heart and his desire to see lives changed through generosity. Not only those in Ethiopia, but also those who choose to partner with us and play apart in helping solve the water crisis in Ethiopia.
Sean is a Senior Vice President of CBRE where he has spent the last 14 years advising companies on their global real estate strategy. When not creating real estate solutions for his clients Sean spends his time with his wife Jessica chasing around their kids, Jack (7), Brenley (4) and Holden (2). As a core component of Sean’s faith Sean believes it is his mission to “make wrong things right”. He feels called to make a difference in the world, particularly when it comes to issues affecting children (safe water, human trafficking, foster care / adoption, etc). Sean sees the global water crisis simply as a math problem and a matter of the will. If people with resources and knowledge will share their resources and knowledge with the developing world we can take a huge step towards eliminating cycles of poverty, early death and preventable diseases. Though not an endurance athlete or a cyclist Sean is excited to take this journey with the Wheels4Water team to help raise money and awareness for Lifewater International in the great work they are doing.
Nate is a successful trainer and coach with Manwealth & Shield Maiden. He is on a path to continually push himself in all areas of life. A few physical accomplishments of Nate’s include Ironman AZ in 2008 and finishing one of the worlds toughest mental and physical challenges in Sealfit Kokoro 45 in 2016, a 52 hour crucible, modeled after Navy Seal Hell Week. Nate has always had a serving heart, to include serving our country on deployment for 15 months in Kuwait with the US Army as a 1st Lt. The thought of biking across the US to raise a significant amount of money with other like minded men is very exciting, and scary at the same time. The lives that will be impacted through a great organization like Lifewater make it all worthwhile.
Phil is a real estate investor and broker in Denver, CO. He is the father of 3 beautiful children Ashlie (16) Lian (6) and Alan (4). He is constantly looking to learn from his mistakes and to continually become a better husband, father, friend, and businessman. He has found it to be very rewarding to take part in a collective group target that’s sole purpose is to give the less fortunate an opportunity a chance at a better life. Phil was fortunate enough to have recently taken part in building a home for a family in Mexico through an organization called 1Mission. He felt so much satisfaction with being able to give back that when he was invited to take part in the effort of fundraising and riding across the country for Life Water he jumped on the opportunity. We can ask, “what is the meaning of life?” or we can choose to show the world what we believe it to be with our actions.
I always look for opportunities that I can serve at a greater cause. When asked by a dear friend if I will support his project and ride across America to bring awareness to Ethiopia’s lack of clean water and facilities for basic restrooms I was in from the get go. After seeing an impact on a water tower, education, and the sustainability of a village in Cambodia I found the need to serve this awesome cause. I am a son of Jesus, Husband of 11 years, and a father of 3. I run a successful mortgage team in Glendale, AZ and most recently completed my first full Ironman. Choosing to serve on many levels is a deep passion of mine. I believe the greatest reward of serving is the individual stories along the way.
If Wikipedia ever needed a picture to put next to the definition of serial entrepreneur, they should, without a doubt, consider using Gus Van Dender’s.
As a Business Management Consultant over the past 20 years, Gus, aka The Belgian, has been involved in many different businesses, in a variety of industries working on a variety of different projects. Too many to list here.
The common thread however, has been crystal clear and constant: To increase the impact of the clients’ vision around his or her product or service.
As a Product Development Engineer, it has always been his passion to create and innovate better solutions, better ways, more efficient and effective delivery of what we deem valuable to the marketplace. A different form of contribution, but a valuable one none the less.
When Gus graduated from college, back in 1996, he was convinced he was going to work for an NGO and use his knowledge to save the world, fix all the major world problems. Yeah… that’s how 24 year olds think… I wish I had some of that naiveté left.
His first major project in Bolivia however, made him see a different, negative side of what the effect “aid” can have. Linked up with the corruption and greed associated with it, it became clear this was not the direction he wanted to go into after all.
To many, it may seem as a bit of a surprise that The Belgian actually agreed to join the team, but this is how he summarizes what made him change his mind: “When I heard about Wheels 4 Water, the way it was structured and how they had solved the major issues around getting the majority of the money raised to benefit the people that actually need the help, I was sold. Didn’t even have to think about it twice. I’m comfortable our efforts will have maximum impact to a maximum number of peoples lives.”
Justin and Brian are the co-founders of Wheels4Water and owners of their own companies as well. Justin runs Rule29 a strategic branding agency and Brian runs Wonderkind Studios a film, motion, still photography and video production company. They wanted to use their combined talents to help tell the story of the world water crisis and their love for cycling to help be a catalyst for fundraising. This year they are the rooting the team on from the sidelines as they hope the W4W adventure can keep going and help Lifewater make life-changing impact.